According to European network research firm Arieso, the iPhone 4S’ Siri virtual personal assistant is responsible for generating nearly twice the data usage for the device, compared to other devices in a study across 1 million smartphone users on a single network in Europe.
Apart from just this voice-based search interface, other Apple services which have synchronization and location-based features, all together make the iPhones the largest downloaders of data. Arieso’s research revealed that a small portion of the total users, roughly 1% of its high-use subscribers, downloaded nearly half the data volumes in the group set. The research firm’s CTO, Michael Flanagan commented on the growing trend amidst more affordable data rates - “The hungry are getting hungrier.”
A comparison between iPhone 4S and other popular smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Curve and Bold Touch range, showed that BlackBerry device owners downloaded two-tenths the amount in the month. Of course, RIM uses compressed data, and is largely in the hands of business users.
Mobile data plans aren’t yet very economical, and with limited bandwidth and network capacities, the quality of data connections and voice clarity is already beginning to suffer appreciably. We however, can’t fault the direction the iPhone 4S is headed in too much – we will have more and more on the cloud in the near future, with lots of demand for access. Solutions to the bandwidth problem are going to have to be inventive.